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November 30, 2021

US retailers press Biden on supply chain disruption fix

US retailers are calling on US President Joe Biden to take a series of essential steps to ensure ports remain globally competitive and resolve the ongoing supply chain crisis.

By Hannah Abdulla

The retailers, represented by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), wrote a letter to the President ahead of his meeting with members including Walmart to discuss the outlook for holiday shopping amidst the supply chain disruptions.

“We appreciate the administration’s recent actions to unfurl the existing disruptions, including the creation of the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force and the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” the letter starts.

“It is our hope the administration will continue the same forward-thinking action to facilitate a few additional short-term steps to continue to restore the semblance of fluidity, especially in southern California. These include addressing restrictive appointment system requirements that disadvantage frontline truckers and contribute to chassis and container dislocation, increasing the ability for the efficient return of empty containers with unrestricted acceptance of empties, requiring ocean carriers to accelerate the evacuation of the tens of thousands of empty containers clogging the ports, and finally, helping ports address the root causes of import container dwell.”

To avert an ongoing cycle of congestion in the longer term, the letter states a series of steps is necessary including targeted investment for infrastructure modernisation; addressing systemic operational challenges in major U.S. ports, and enabling data sharing and interoperability to facilitate end-to-end visibility.

“As primary users of ports and freight infrastructure, shippers should play a role in helping determine effective targeting of funds. The administration should also continue to strengthen protections for American importers and exporters and bolster the Federal Maritime Commission’s work providing oversight of foreign-owned ocean carriers, alliances, and terminal operators–sending the message that fair and open supply chains are essential to the American economy,” the letter states.

Several retailers have been impacted by the supply chain disruptions including Gap Inc.

The World Trade Organisation has also warned global merchandise trade is slowing with production and supply disruptions in critical sectors dampening growth alongside cooling import demand, according to the WTO’s latest Goods Trade Barometer.

The US administration revealed plans last month on how it is addressing both its global and domestic supply chain issues.

 

 

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